Three Lions (Football's Coming Home)
During the 2018 World Cup, English fans began singing "It's Coming Home" after England World Cup victories. This is in reference to the 1996 song "Three Lions (Football's Coming Home)" by The Lightning Seeds. Why? Let us explain.
Original Release of the Song
"Three Lions (Football's Coming Home)" was the song released before the 1996 UEFA European Championships, hosted in England. In an effort to excite English fans, the song references all of the past failures of English Men's National team in the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Championship, specifically in the penalty shootout. The chorus of "Football's coming home," in a double entendre, referencing the tournament coming to England, the birthplace of Association Football, and the hope that England would finally win a national tournament after winning the FIFA World Cup in 1960.
While England did win their penalty shootout with Spain in the Quarterfinals, the lost in the Semi-Finals to Germany in Penalty shootouts after a miss from Gareth Southgate.
After the 1996 Euros, England lost in the World Cup knockout rounds via penalty shootout twice, being eliminated two more times in humiliating fashion and ultimately bottoming out with a 2014 World Cup performance that saw them fail to advance past the Group Stage. The song became a running joke, with each new humiliation shoehorned in to new verses that would be shared as jokes in papers and online. That all changed in 2018.
2018 World Cup
Unlike in past years, England entered the 2018 FIFA World Cup with subdued hopes, due in large part to a young, inexperienced team and a new manager, Gareth Southgate. In their first group stage match when Tunisia unexpectedly tied the match, English fans began mockingly posting "It's coming home," online. England won that match and their second match, advancing to the knockout round. When England played Colombia in the Round of 16, the game went to penalties and most fans, remembering Southgate's miss, expected the worse. England won the shootout, their first ever in the FIFA World Cup, and "Three Lions (It's Coming Home)" was sung by fans in the stadium, in England and made into an internet meme.
While England did not win the competition (Finishing 4th), fans have reclaimed the song to it's original, optimistic meaning that England will someday soon bring a major trophy home.